First Dentist Appointment: Prepare Your Toddler

Reduce the fear and anxiety from a child’s first dentist appointment. Prepare your child for their first dental exam with this fun and easy model of a mouth.

How to prepare for a first dentist visit

Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

When Elise was ready for her first dentist appointment, I did some checking and found out that a lot of young children are often very intimidated by the dentist. The answer to relieve that anxiety was preparation.

It is a simple concept: prepare your toddler for their first dental exam. Ok, but how? We were already brushing her teeth, reading books about dental visits and tooth care, and we even made up a song. What else, short of going for a “meet-and-greet” could I do?

How to Use a Model to Prepare Your Toddler for the Dentist

Other parents at the dentist’s office and the dental staff were amazed by this little mouth model when Elise asked for it to play “the dentist game” in the waiting room. 

To help get her to that point:

  • We played dentist after breakfast for a couple days before her appointment.
  • I asked her to watch as I flossed and brushed the marshmallow teeth and tongue. Then it was Elise’s turn to play with the mouth, brushing each and every tooth with an adorable amount of concentration.
  • I would put her in a dining chair, tip her back (resting the back chair on my lap) and I would say things like: “Hi, I’m Dentist Mommy. May I put my hands near your mouth? May I put this toothbrush (or flosser) in your mouth?” I also used the dentist’s name and we would shake hands and introduce ourselves. She got such a kick out of it.

And our visit was stress-free! I’m updating this craft with new images and will tell you, there is no anxiety with the dentist at all.

Supplies needed to make a model of the human mouth

Materials for an Easy Model of a Mouth

  • Full or scrap pieces of cardstock in pink and red (see cut sizes below)
  • 20 mini marshmallows
  • glue (I used a glue stick and scrapbook glue), scissors, and a ruler




How to Make a Mouth Model

Step 1: Cut your paper pieces.

One note before you start: I left room between the teeth of this model of a mouth. I did that to talk about and demonstrate flossing.

I used an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of pink cardstock. My cuts were:

  • for the mouth: 8.5″ long and 3.25″ wide
  • for the top handle: 4.5″ long and 1.25″ wide
  • for the bottom handle: 4.5″ long and 0.75″ wide
  • for the tongue: 2″ long and 1″ wide

Step 2: Round out the mouth and tongue shapes. 

I used the curve of a tape roll to round off the mouth.

make a model of a mouth

Step 3: Fold the mouth. 

The mouth does, in fact, open and close all the way. Here’s how I did it:

  • I put the front of the mouth at the 3.5″ (three and one-half inch) mark on the ruler and then folded the cardstock over the ruler’s edge.
  • I then scooted the fold I had just made to the 3/4″ (three-quarters of an inch) mark on the ruler and then folded the cardstock over the edge again.

These folds more than compensate for the size of the mini marshmallows.

first dentist appointment anxiety

Step 4: Fold the handles.

I used the same method as above using different measurements.

  • Put an edge of the cardstock handle at the 1/2″ (one-half of an inch) mark and fold it over the edge of the ruler.
  • Scoot the fold to the 1/4″ (one-quarter of an inch) and fold the cardstock over the edge of the ruler.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Glue the handles to the model of the mouth.

learn how to reduce anxiety about going to the dentist

Step 5: Glue

  • I glued down the marshmallow teeth at the back first, making sure the mouth would close easily with both top and bottom teeth secured.
  • Next, I affixed the front two teeth on both the top and bottom.
  • Then, I just filled in the rest of the teeth evenly(ish).
  • Glue down the tongue.
  • I eyeballed it for the handles.

Make a fun and easy mouth model to help kids with dental anxiety

Yield: 1 mouth model

First Dentist Appointment: Prepare Your Toddler

Prepare for a First Dentist Appointment

Reduce the fear and anxiety from a child's first dentist appointment. Prepare your child for their first dental exam with this fun and easy model of a mouth.

Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1

Materials

  • Full or scrap pieces of cardstock in pink and red (see cut sizes below)
  • 20 mini marshmallows

Tools

  • glue (I used a glue stick and scrapbook glue), scissors, and a ruler

Instructions

  1. One note before you start: I left room between the teeth of this model of a mouth. I did that to talk about and demonstrate flossing.
  2. I used an 8.5" x 11" piece of pink card stock. My cuts were: for the mouth: 8.5" long and 3.25" wide, for the top handle: 4.5" long and 1.25" wide, for the bottom handle: 4.5" long and 0.75" wide, for the tongue: 2" long and 1" wide.
  3. I used the curve of a tape roll to round off the mouth. The mouth does, in fact, open and close all the way. Here's how I did it: I put the front of the mouth at the 3.5" (three and one-half inch) mark on the ruler and then folded the card stock over the ruler's edge. I then scooted the fold I had just made to the 3/4" (three-quarters of an inch) mark on the ruler and then folded the card stock over the edge again.These folds more than compensate for the size of the mini marshmallows.
  4. I used the same method as above using different measurements. Put an edge of the card stock handle at the 1/2" (one-half of an inch) mark and fold it over the edge of the ruler. Scoot the fold to the 1/4" (one-quarter of an inch) and fold the card stock over the edge of the ruler. Repeat on the other side. Glue the handles to the model of the mouth.
  5. I glued down the marshmallow teeth at the back first, making sure the mouth would close easily with both top and bottom teeth secured. Next, I affixed the front two teeth on both the top and bottom. Then, I just filled in the rest of the teeth evenly(ish). Glue down the tongue. I eyeballed it for the handles.

Notes

For more fun crafts for kids, visit Ruffles and Rain Boots.

Did you make this?

Please leave a comment or share a photo and tag me @rufflesandrain

You’re Prepared for Your Toddler’s First Dentist Appointment!

You’re done with your simple model of a mouth to help your little one reduce their anxiety about their first trip to the dentist.

The great part is that the marshmallows dry out and are very sturdy! We have been using this for a busy bag activity as well, and it has withheld a 2-year-old flossing (with a real flosser) and brushing (with a real toothbrush).

And this is us at her first dental appointment: all smiles!

This is an awesome pic of an awesome craft on RufflesAndRainBoots.com

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You can prepare a child for their first dental appointment and reduce the anxiety and fear surrounding the dentist. Here's how. #dentistappointment #childhoodanxiety #dentalanxiety #modelofamouth #mouthmodel #mouthpuppet #papercrafts #DIY #craftsforkids #rufflesandrainboots

 

One Comment

  1. Such a cute dental activity. I am taking my daughter to the pediatric dentist this month so I am trying to get her excited & prepared. We will totally be doing some of these. Thanks for sharing!!!

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